Ideally, children will get all of the information they need at home from their parents, but school should also be an important source of information.
Here is why:
It has been one year since those of us in Kenya and the United States began to shut down in-person activities as we recognized the danger of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s an understatement to say the last year has been difficult. For many, many of us, it has been devastating.
More than two and a half million people have died worldwide, including confirmed positive cases in Kenya are now 130,214. 13 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours out of which 2 occurred in the last 24 hours while 11 are late death reports from facility record audits that occurred on diverse dates.
This now pushes our cumulative fatalities to 2,117. Our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their loved ones. In the last year, Covid-19 has killed almost as many people as cancer.
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Women have suffered more than men, and women of color have suffered the most. Women are doing more unrecognized household labor than before the pandemic. In recent months, four times the number of women are dropping out of the labor force compared to men. I’m sorry to say the list goes on.
Isolating folks in their homes over the last year led to a spike in domestic violence. We’re also experiencing a mental health crisis — and us men are still not seeking the help we should. Our education system is struggling. All of these crises intersect and those at the margins of the margins are hurt the most.
But we have a big opportunity for action right now. Millions of people worldwide are getting vaccines every day, although that process is also affected by race and class. We’re seeing hiring pick up. The racial justice and gender justice movements over the last year have inspired us so much. We’ve seen some of the biggest protests and resistance in history, and we’re seeing momentum that we haven’t felt since the Civil Rights era.
As we begin to emerge from this pandemic, I want to call on all of the men reading this. Make a commitment — right now — to do things differently from now on. Together we can — we must — build a society that is more just, more inclusive, more loving than the world has ever seen. But it will take all of us.
If you already considered yourself a practicing aspiring ally for women and those at the margins of the margins, think about how you can do just a bit more (or a lot more). If you’re just starting your journey, thank you. We need you. I urge you to learn, to listen to, and lift up voices at the margins, and to donate money and skills.
Let’s commit right now that collective liberation will be the focus of the post-Covid world. We can do it. Now’s the time.
Please comment if you are a male feminist!
Starting with the viral hashtag #metoo in 2017, everyone was talking about the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment. Like so many others, I have my own #metoo story.
That however is not why I’m writing right now, what I want to try to do in order to help change this prevalence of sexual assault is to empower you to understand consent and body safety.
This means teaching our kids preventative measures. This means teaching both boys and girls about consent.
When we teach our children terms for their body parts that we feel like they’d understand, childish names, it teaches a sense of privacy and shame over what they are.
When children know the anatomical terminology and have been able to discuss it openly with parents there is a greater understanding over what is not okay behavior of adults or children around them.
If something does happen, it also makes it easier for children to discuss what happened and get help.
Teaching children about privacy when it comes to body parts can be complicated.
I’ve read articles about how you can teach your kids that it’s okay for mom and dad to see your parts. But how often is a parent the abuser?
Then again, every parent, especially depending on the child’s age needs to be able to see a child naked to shower and bath, to change diapers, to help with toileting.
It’s necessary. This is when it comes to teaching your child boundaries. What is okay touching, what is not.
Teaching your kids that nobody outside the home should TOUCH their body parts. It’s inappropriate for anyone to ask to see them or ask them to touch others.
Abusers can threaten your child if they tell about the abuse.
Teach your children that body secrets are not okay. Reassure them that no matter what you will not be mad, they will never lose mom or dad, nobody can ever hurt you over them telling the truth, and that if anyone asks to touch their body parts or for them to touch others body parts to tell you right away.
This includes someone asking them to look at pictures of body parts or take pictures of their body parts.
It does not have to be a stranger asking them inappropriate things.
Most often those who are sexually assaulted know their abusers. The rules are the same no matter who is asking.
Teach your children when it’s okay to lie if needed so they can get out of an uncomfortable situation.
It can be hard for kids to say “no”, especially to an older child or an adult.
Teach them scenarios that can help them getaway, this may even mean self-defense strategies.
For both boys and girls it’s easy to teach consent early.
If kids are playing, perhaps roughhousing, and one clearly is upset and wants it to stop, teach your children to recognize that and follow their lead.
This includes following it yourself with your children. My kids loved to be tickled, but there can be times that their done, follow their lead, and as soon as they show they would like it to stop, then stop.
Make them understand that they have the right to control the situation. They have the right to say ‘No’ or ‘stop’ and the other person should listen.
As well as others have that same right and if they say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ then stop.
It may hurt your feelings if your child doesn’t want to give a hug or kiss, it may hurt grandma or grandpa’s feelings, it may hurt Aunt June’s feelings, but DO NOT pressure your children into giving a hug or kiss to anyone they do not want to.
It is within their power to refuse, this goes with teaching consent, it also means teaching children what power they have. They have power over their own body and have the right to say “no.”
What other body safety tips do you have? What have you taught your children? What were you taught that helped you? What were you not taught that you wish you were?
People who survive sexual assault can experience mental health difficulties that last for years. Stigma can compound the pain of sexual assault, as a fear of stigma may deter survivors from seeking help or reaching out to others.
Despite all the progress made, our society still puts women through the wringer emotionally.
From impossible body standards to victim-blaming, to the pressure to always put others before themselves, there is a whole lot for women to deal with from their teens and beyond.
Although parents and caregivers can’t shield girls from the world, there’s a great deal they can do to prevent them from internalizing damaging societal messages. But what are the most important lessons to teach?
Parents need to teach the most crucial emotional skills girls need to learn to navigate the world more effectively.
Here are some skills to consider teaching your daughter by the time she is a teenager.
We often neglect to teach our girls emotional intelligence because the popular stereotype is that females are good at getting in touch with their feelings and communicating them.
In real sense, when women are overcome by emotions, they become incapable of making decisions. Emotional Intelligence means having the ability to describe and express the full range of human emotion.
But when girls are taught to value being happy and liked overall, they often suppress or can’t acknowledge more difficult experiences.
It’s recommended that parents “authorize” their daughters’ emotions. When your girls express authentic emotions, even if they’re difficult, you take them seriously.
You don’t deny them or challenge them.
Lost in a sea of selfies and reality television, girls might not know how to view themselves beyond objects of desire.
Teach your daughter that she is beautiful because of who she is in her heart and mind, not because of how she looks or how she dresses.
Point out that, as cheesy as it sounds, real beauty does come from within. Help her understand that trying to be sexy won’t make her beautiful, because she is already beautiful without changing her appearance.
Build her confidence in who she is apart from her looks and explain to her that confidence translates into beauty.
Make sure her Dad is telling her how beautiful she is too.
Also, Parents should discuss sex and know and use the right names for genitalia and do their best to “represent sex as a healthy, beautiful experience that should be had with joy and consent.”
That means talking about what consent means early on and emphasizing that a girl’s body belongs to her alone.
Studies show that girls are encouraged by both parents and teachers to be sweet and conciliatory.
And while we don’t want to send our daughters into the world with a chip on their shoulder and their fists raised looking for a fight, we need to let them know that it is okay to stand up for themselves and voice their beliefs and opinions.
So tell your daughter that she can express herself strongly, but respectfully.
And, if someone is mistreating her, empower her to say, “I don’t really like the way you’re treating me, so I’m going to go now.”
Boys and girls do have differences when it comes to their brains.
Boys are more visual. Boys have more testosterone than women.
These biological facts make boys and girls think differently, and approach life and problem-solving differently.
Teach your daughter that she has great value, not just because she is a girl, but because she is a person and that boys are not better or more valuable than girls.
Girls are frequently told that friendships are paramount, and that may be why they can be so singularly focused on those relationships.
Relationships help girls learn to assert themselves, compromise, and set boundaries.
Parents should view friendships as an opportunity to show girls what healthy relationships look like and how they can relate to others and themselves.
Encouraging her to communicate honestly and reasonably assert herself, provides her with skills that she’ll need to push for a raise as an adult.
Help your daughter understand that working hard is the key to moving forward in life.
Reward her hard work with praise. Point out the link in her own life between her hard work and success.
A strong faith will help your daughter navigate the challenges of life. It will serve as the basis for her standards and the choices she makes.
Teach her about the power of faith. Teach her how to strengthen her faith. Pray with her.
It’s easy to be one’s most unforgiving critic, no matter gender.
But girls get a lot of messages that it’s important to please others. So when they experience a setback, it often feels like letting someone else down.
Research shows that adolescent girls may be exposed to more interpersonal stress than boys. That makes them more likely to ruminate on negative feelings, which puts them at greater risk for depression.
To help prevent this cycle of suffering, parents should teach their daughters how to deal with failure. What we want is for girls to have is the capacity to move through a setback without beating themselves up.
This means teaching a girl how to relate to herself and practice self-compassion in a moment of crisis. It’s important that instead of criticizing herself harshly, she focuses on the universality of disappointment and practice self-kindness.
By realizing others share that experience, she’ll be better prepared to treat herself compassionately and develop resilience.
Help your daughter see that the online world is not the real world.
Be sure that she’s spending more time with you and your family than with her online community.
The more time that she spends online, the greater her chances of feeling discouraged about what other girls have that she doesn’t, be it their clothes, their bodies, or their boyfriends.
What else are you trying to teach your pre-teen daughter? Share your comments below.
For sustainable development, any progressive nation should take into account critical issues like gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.
As evident from surveys, higher female earnings greatly contribute to children’s education and family health, impacting the overall economic growth of a nation.
Statistically speaking, women’s contribution to waged work jumped from 42% to 46% between 1997 and 2007.
Evidently, achieving women’s economic empowerment is the key to solve issues like gender inequality and poverty and to foster inclusive economic growth as well.
Women are known to contribute significantly to economics in the form of business, entrepreneurial work, or unpaid labor (sadly!).
While women living in some parts of the developed countries have the role of decision-makers and influencers, gender discrimination remains a debilitating social issue in many parts of the world, and those subaltern women are often alarmingly affected by poverty, discrimination, and other forms of vulnerable exploitations.
As any developing nation would agree, sustainable economic growth is unthinkable without women empowerment, and measures for gender inclusion is the driving factor of social progress and economic growth.
Working women have an enormous contribution to education, health, and wellness, and therefore achieving gender equality is indispensable to holistic developments.
Here are ways we can empower women especially in Africa:
Every time we had a sex talk back in high school, the coordinator would have a box where we would drop pieces of papers anonymously with questions to be answered at the end of the forum. Most of the questions that were asked are:
I know you might be thinking, these are just basic straight forward questions. Now that I am all grown up, I think these questions were real concerns for us because we had never been taught about sex.
The only basic thing was, “Do not have sex until you are married!” and “If you have sex you will get pregnant and your parents will be pissed!”
Lack of sex education- both by parents and in schools- is a major crisis that has major ripple effects through many parts of society.
Lack of sex education in schools has been identified as a major contributory factor to the high rate of teenage pregnancy and unsafe abortion in the country.
Believe it or not, every girl or boy ill one day has to make a life-changing decision about their sexual and reproductive health.
So imagine the gap that exists in the lack of knowledge that these young people require to make these kinds of decisions responsibly. This is why most of our young people are vulnerable to early pregnancies, coercion, and STI’s.
This is what we recommend. A Comprehensive Sexuality Education.
Comprehensive sexuality education is based on an approach that focusses on gender and rights.
Whether in school or at home, this kind of sex education is taught throughout the adolescent life, to every age group depending on information relevant to their ages.
There are various things you can cover.
First are facts about human anatomy, reproductive health, and human development. You can go deeper on topics like contraception, consent, sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and childbirth.
Apart from pumping the youth with information, it is good to nurture positive values regarding their sexual and reproductive health. Such values are based on relationships, culture, gender roles, sexual abuse, and human rights. It is what I refer to as holistic sexuality education.
With these kind of knowledge, our young people will develop skills like critical thinking, communication, responsible decision making, and self-esteem.
Talking to children about sex is not an easy task.
If you are keen on the news an social media, there have been so many cases of early pregnancies, sexual assault cases, kidnappings, deaths, and sexually transmitted diseases.
This means that the one talk you gave your children about the birds and the bees is not enough. You should have an ongoing talk frequently according to the age they are in.
Ideally, children will get all of the information they need at home from their parents, but school should also be an important source of information.
Here is why:
There has been a huge debate in the past about providing condoms in school and teaching contraception to teenagers.
It has been said that giving these options will make them promiscuous.
To be honest, teaching comprehensive sex education doesn’t have the downside most people are afraid of.
Providing these options does not encourage adolescents to start having sex earlier, it only helps them be safe in case they choose to have sex.
In this generation, they are already having sex at a very early age so it is good that they have safe sex.
There have been so many efforts to curb teenage pregnancies but you have seen how the numbers have risen recently especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Poverty is one of the primary causes of teenage pregnancies but so is a lack of sex education.
Immediately your child starts becoming eager and curious about their body, you should start educating them right there and continue throughout each stage of their lives.
Abstaining from sex before marriage is a tradition that the current generation does not hold in high regard.
As a parent, you have to accept this hard truth and talk to your children about protecting themselves, making informed decisions, and keeping healthier sexualities.
If you feel like “No! my child will abstain from sex”, which is admirable, you are still not exempted from teaching them about sex.
They too need sex education. If a child grows being well informed, he or she will be empowered by that information and will respect people’s opinions and sexualities.
Furthermore, your child will not source information from their peers or the internet. We all know these sources are not reliable because of misinformation.
Do you know why you hear teenagers having oral sex and anal sex instead of vaginal sex?
It is because they do not have accurate information about alternative sexual behaviors.
Young people think that oral sex is incompatible with abstinence because abstinence involves vaginal intercourse so they believe.
With a comprehensive sex education approach, teenagers will be more informed about participating in alternative sexual behaviors instead of falsely assuming these alternatives are safe.
If we do not teach sex education, we will have generations that are completely unequipped to advocate for their bodily autonomy and are extremely ashamed about any sexuality that they’ve experienced.
We will fail generations of women when we set them up to be hurt, and we failed those generations of men when we fed them toxic masculinity instead of teaching them about consent and pleasure for all bodies.
If we’re to move forward, we need to find a way to build systems that educate and protect. What Do you think?
743 million!! That’s the number of girls that are out of school right now due to schools shutting down to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Most of these girls may never even return to school after the crisis is over.
Do you know what this means?
These girls are going to miss out on so many opportunities. They are also more likely to experience abuse, child marriage, early pregnancies, violence, and hardship.
With so many issues arising during this time like police brutality, gender-based violence, and digital gaps, we also need to take a close look at how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact girls around the world, and examine past crises to understand the current risks.
Over the past few months, as COVID-19 has moved from a fear-producing unknown to an era-defining terror, we’ve seen mainstream media coverage that mirrors the failures of our healthcare system, the police force, and the government as a whole.
Teenage pregnancies are rising in the wake of this pandemic because so many girls are being sexually exploited in the crisis-affected areas.
Susan, a 15-year-old girl says “ I know that so many girls in my area will suffer. There will be a scarcity of food, we will get abused and violated. Boys always ask for sexual favors if we ask them for help.”
Low-income families are most likely to force their daughters into early marriage. These girls will no longer be able to go back to school and live up to their full potential.
Pandemics have been seen to make existing gender inequalities worse and can make it more difficult for women and girls to receive treatment and health.
Health care systems have been forced to channel all of their resources to combat an epidemic so sexual and reproductive health care has been overlooked despite the persistent need for adequate family planning, menstrual health resources, and maternal care.
Many schools all over the world have turned to remote learning to keep students busy but it is unfortunate that most girls do not have access to the tools that are required.
Did you know that only 39% of girls who live in rural areas make it to secondary school? Boys, on the other hand, 45% of them make it to secondary school globally.
Now imagine how much this divide has grown due to COVID-19.
Families choosing boys to go to school over girls is as a result of gender norms. It is absurd how in the 21st century, there is no agency in such issues. Girls still do not have a voice.
Another issue is that the number of boys in low-income families who own smartphones is much higher compared to girls.
Remote learning becomes so much easier for them. Girls not only do not have access to remote learning, but also general access to learning period!
The big challenge that has remained in many countries is that girls drop out of school at much higher rates than boys.
We have made so much effort to get girls to go to school, and suddenly schools are closed.
School closures are not only causing girls to miss out academically; they also prevent girls from having access to benefits like support from other students and teachers, or the chance to network.
Protect A Girls Image is calling on governments and local authorities to make education affordable and accessible for all, continue access to sexual and reproductive information and services, protect families from hunger, tackle gender-based violence, and provide support for refugees, girls, and women.
Truth is that in times of crisis, disparities like these become even more apparent.
We have seen the effects this pandemic is having on women and girls.
From the increased reports of domestic violence as survivors are forced to lockdown with their abusers, to the restrictions on reproductive healthcare and the challenges of working women struggling to balance work and family.
The fact that 85% of all nurses, 75% of primary caregivers, and 62% of minimum and low-wage workers are women—women and girls’ lives are especially impacted by this pandemic.
There is a need to look at the global crisis through a gendered lens, to create awareness so we can then address these issues and create change.
Do you agree?
Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has adversely affected the mental and socioeconomic well-being of young Kenyans, a new survey reports.
The study, which was conducted by AMREF Health Africa between April 30 and May 5 across all the 47 counties, in alliance with the Ministry of Health, Population Council and Youth in Action, indicates that the effects of Covid-19, such as loss of jobs, have heightened stress levels among young people, worsening their mental and health well-being.
“Covid-19 is having significant negative effects on the mental health, economic and social status of the youth: nearly a third (27 percent) are experiencing more stress and 30 percent have reported living in fear,” the report notes.
The main source of worry and stress for young people is the reduction of income and complete loss of jobs amidst rising expenses, the report says.
This is as 50 percent of young Kenyans have suffered from a significantly reduced income whereas 22.9 percent of the Kenyan youth have lost their source of livelihood due to the virus epidemic.
The report also added, “34 percent of young Kenyans experienced increases expenses in the house and 33 percent experienced an increase in food prices, with more females than males experiencing an increase in household expenses (36.7 percent vs 31.9 percent) and increase in food prices (34.5 percent vs 32.6 percent”.
According to the findings of the report, the group also recorded an increase in violence at home. 1.7 percent of the respondents revealed that they have been victims of violence at home during the pandemic period.
The changes in normal roles and routines create stress for family members, including children who cannot attend school and may not know why they cannot.
Additionally, parents must struggle to strike a balance between explaining the pandemic to their children without heightening their fear.
For parents who also double up as health care workers, the conflict between being professionals and infecting their families become real.
These conflicts are likely to cause feelings of guilt, fear, and anxiety, among others.
Lastly, as home environments become toxic due to depressed affect, school closures, and diminishing resources among others, the odds of family violence increase.
Fear, worry, and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats, and at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown.
So it is normal and understandable that youth in Kenya are experiencing fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Added to the fear of contracting the virus in a pandemic such as COVID-19 are the significant changes to our daily lives as our movements are restricted in support of efforts to contain and slow down the spread of the virus.
Most are struggling with anxiety and depression because they are faced with new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends, and colleagues.
At least six people died from police violence during the first 10 days of Kenya’s dusk-to-dawn curfew, imposed on March 27, 2020, to contain the spread of Covid-19. As of today, the number has shot up to 12 which includes children.
The police, without apparent justification, shot and beat people at markets or returning home from work, even before the daily start of the curfew.
Police have also broken into homes and shops, extorted money from residents, or looted food in locations across the country.
It is shocking that people are losing their lives and livelihoods while supposedly being protected from infection.
Police brutality isn’t just unlawful; it is also counterproductive in fighting the spread of the virus.
Five percent of women cannot access emergency pills or sanitary towels due to the movement restrictions, while eight percent of men reported a lack of access to condoms.
Youth with HIV have also been affected adversely, with 2.3 percent saying that Covid-19 has cut off their access to ARV medication and 4.7 percent noting that they are unable to access HIV/AIDS counseling.
Additionally, nearly half of the young people surveyed indicated that they would not be able to self-isolate if infected with Covid-19 due to reduced income or loss of jobs, which makes them unable to afford isolation.
Diseases will not also wait for coronavirus to be over!!
Regardless of these effects, the report shows that an overwhelming majority of young Kenyans are taking the necessary precautions.
They are adopting positive behavior to avoid infection with Covid-19, practicing hand hygiene, and wearing personal protective equipment since they started to receive messages on Covid-19.
For instance, 99 percent of young people are avoiding travel, 98 percent are using masks in public, 98 percent are washing hands, and 20 percent using hand sanitizers.
Little is known about the experiences of our people under public health protocols in terms of compliance, difficulties, and psychological impact.
The resulting interruption of filial and other bonds due to fears about infecting self and others, and/or avoidance behaviors during and post-isolation are issues of concern to social scientists.
Further, public health protocols that directly contradict long-held traditions, for instance, concerning how and when burials are to be conducted has ramifications for their success.
Finally, fear of social stigma for those infected may cause people to deny early symptoms and consequently fail at early diagnosis.
It is important to note that early diagnosis is essential for the management of a new disease as COVID-19.
Therefore, it is important to understand how people perceive interventions and what psychological mechanisms are triggered by coercive measures.
As Kenya began closing schools and colleges on 15th March 2020 and shifting to online education to limit the novel coronavirus, 36-year-old Teresa Waruguru worried about how she, her two children, and her neighbor’s son would be able to get by with one computer.
Teresa, who is a freelancer, needs it during the day and the 3 children also need it for an online learning program given by their schools.
It’s a problem unfolding across the country.
Many students lack computers or high-speed internet at home, and schools can’t provide the same online education to every student when some can’t log on at all.
This is especially the case for children in rural, marginalized communities like the Maasai, Samburu, Turkana, Pokot, Marakwet, and Sabaot, and in coastal regions; refugee children in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps; and children with disabilities.
Since schools closed in Kenya, the ministry of education and other agencies have indicated that learners should undertake online learning or technology-mediated learning on TV, radio, ed-tech apps, and mobile phones.
While such learning may take place in urban areas, for many marginalized children in remote villages—including refugee children in camps as well as those living with various disabilities—learning during COVID-19 school closures is a deep challenge.
Learning mediated through ed-tech remains out of reach for many disadvantaged children due to connectivity challenges.
In remote parts of Kajiado, Narok, Samburu, Turkana, and Kilifi counties, for example, electricity does not reach households, excluding children from online learning.
Additionally, smartphones are beyond the reach of most rural communities.
Even when adults have smartphones, tensions around privacy and kids’ unsupervised internet use render access for learning nonexistent.
And where electricity and technology do exist, the cost of the internet is prohibitive.
Such disadvantages present challenges for rural families and learners who must compete with their more privileged peers during national examinations.
The quarantines and curfews imposed by governments as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic also lead to learning loss.
If children experience learning loss during normal extended school holidays, it remains to be determined how much learning will be lost during extended emergency closures.
For rural children of parents with low literacy levels and limited education resources, this risk of learning loss is heightened.
Not only are these parents frustrated at having to homeschool without adequate preparation, but they also cannot reinforce their children’s learning.
Intermittent online learning is not effective for students already behind, and radio learning cannot replace classroom learning as it is intended to supplement the knowledge that children already have.
School closures also have implications for learners who rely on school feeding programs as a main source of nutrition.
With everyone now at home, families’ ability to provide food for their children has been even further reduced.
In such poverty, securing food takes precedence over learning.
For instance, the closure of schools in Kenya has also coincided with the planting seasons where poor families are likely to take advantage of labor provided by children at home.
This is especially the case for girls and young women whose duties include working on farms, household chores, and caring for family members.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that rural girls are likely to be used to cushion families’ income, which further exposes girls to sexual exploitation and gender-based violence.
This places girls at especially high risk of health and reproductive crises, including forced female genital mutilation, as well as early marriage, which puts girls at high risk of dropping out when schools reopen.
Decreased mobility from quarantines and curfews also restricts girls and women from essential protection services and support networks, further diminishing their autonomy.
Universities have been forced to turn to online learning to ensure students finish their courses on time, but preparedness varies from one institution to the next.
Dr. Richard Bosire, the chairman of the Universities Academic Staff Union’s University of Nairobi chapter, was quoted in local media as saying: “Not all lecturers had been trained and those who had were waiting for directions on how to proceed.
Most students do not have laptops or money to buy internet bundles to sustain a three-hour online course.
Some of them live in far-flung areas and do not even have access to the internet, so how will they be expected to come on board?”
“At Kenyan universities, online learning is mainly focused on postgraduate students with the larger population, undergraduate learners, left out. Part of the problem is lack of investment in online resources by the institutions,” said the local Daily Nation newspaper in an editorial on 28 March.
“The obvious drawback for e-learning is the digital divide. Most families have limited or no access to the internet. Such a situation does not belong to the future but the present,” the newspaper said.
In Kenya, successful electronic-based degree programs have been dominated by foreign and international qualifications, mostly postgraduate degrees featuring collaborations between local private institutions and foreign institutions.
The statement follows resistance from a section of students from the University of Nairobi (UON), some of whom were active in a trending discussion on Twitter on 30 March (#UONboycottonlineclasses) during which they resisted the announcement by the university that lessons would continue online.
“You want me to take online classes. I live in Turkana (in far-off remote northern Kenya). Does this university even care that I obviously can’t access [the] internet? It is the University of Nairobi, not University for people of Nairobi,” tweeted student Jared Washington Ochako.
“Training is an inevitable part of any business but depending solely on an e-learning platform can make learning less personal, less engaging, and in the process, less effective. We urge comrades to boycott such shenanigans by UON,” said another student going by the online name Mzee Mzima.
Students argued that online learning could not be inclusive given the circumstances and would exclude those disadvantaged by poor infrastructure.
To support children across Kenya in continuing their education, UNICEF has been working with the government to provide radio, TV, and Internet lessons.
Despite the challenges in marginalized communities, many children are using these resources to continue learning.
The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) estimates that 47% of learners are accessing lessons through radio, TV, or the Internet.
This means that over half of Kenya students are not able to access remote lessons, either because they are outside of the broadcast range or do not have the necessary equipment.
To address this, UNICEF is mapping areas without radio and exploring ways to reach children, including by distributing 27,500 solar-powered radios for learners without access to lessons.
They are also distributing textbooks to 18,350 students in refugee camps and have provided academic and physical fitness tutorials through smartphones to children in informal settlements, including those with disabilities.
Who could have imagined that a Simple Hairstyle would become a conversation starter and fundraising tool for COVID-19?
Necessity is the mother of invention!
These women in Kibera Slum, an Informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya are using a hairstyle to raise Awareness about Coronavirus.
Its called the “Coronavirus Hairstyle”.
The “corona hairstyle” is shaped just like the virus: it has long spikes and a small circular crown.
Other hairstylists hope it will bring much-needed community awareness about the pandemic in this area.
Some salons in Kibera Slum charge 1 dollar to make a hairstyle very popular amongst children in Kibera.
This in turn sends a message of awareness about the new virus.
Jane Mbone, 7, arrives home after having her hair styled in the shape of the new coronavirus at the Mama Brayo Beauty Salon in the Kibera slum.
A hairstyle that has popularly been around Africa for many years has become much more than a look in Nairobi, Kenya.
Kenya currently has 715 cases of COVID-19 and has put measures into effect to combat the pandemic, such as implementing curfews and releasing of prisoners.
Hairstyles have historically carried meaning in Africa, from revealing a wearer’s relationship status to their family’s social standing.
Variations of the “corona hairstyle” have been plaited from generation to generation.
Sharon Refa, a hairstylist in the slum feels that there still needs to be aware of how to protect oneself and others from coronavirus.
“Many Slumdwellers don’t believe that the coronavirus is real,” Refa said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends regularly washing hands with water and soap or cleaning them with a sanitizer.
They also recommend wearing masks and social distancing when in public.
But another challenge Kenya faces in its fight against COVID-19 is lack of clean water and sanitation.
According to Water.org, a digital platform that advocates for access to water and sanitation, 41% of Kenyans get their water supply from ponds, shallow wells, and rivers, while 71% of the population lack access to sanitation. The challenges are even more pronounced in slums like Kibera.
Refa added that many adults in her community are reluctant to wear masks or use hand sanitizer, which is why she and her colleagues came up with the “corona hairstyle,”. The hairstyle also helps in communicating with the public about the virus.
The corona hairstyle is a way to be stylish on a seriously tight budget. Millions of people across the world have lost their jobs, food security, and businesses as a result of COVID-19.
The most affected sectors are transport, aviation, hospitality and tourism, manufacturing, wholesale and trade, agriculture, and the informal sector.
In Kenya, 83% of total employment in 2018 was in the informal sector.
The reality of the toll Covid-19 is taking on the economy is only beginning to hit home, with 133,657 Kenyans said to have been rendered jobless.
Nonprofits are also doing the best they can to create awareness and help where they can in terms of food, water, soap, and sanitary effects.
Which are some of the innovative ways you have seen that have been used to create awareness about COVID-19? Feel Free to Share in the comments below.